Website Held for Ransom Again in the News
How safe is your site?
4.5 minute reading time
Just last week, Broward County Public Schools reported that hackers were demanding a $40M ransom following a security breach, prompting every small business with a website to worry if this could happen to them – and if there is any way to prevent it.
Being “small” isn’t enough to keep your website safe. Broward County’s response to the hackers was “You cannot possibly think we have anything close to this!” In our own experience, we’ve even seen hackers break into websites just to boast that they can. “If” your site will be hacked is not the question you should be asking – it’s “when.”
There’s no such thing as an impregnable website. Any defenses a creative coder can build, another creative coder can get around, under, or through. Certainly the “bad guys,” like all entrepreneurs, are looking for the best return on their investment, so the most popular web platforms are also the ones that are most commonly hacked, which is why it’s so important to keep your website updated to the latest version available. With a new version, known weaknesses are fixed and the hackers have to spend time finding new ones.
The weakness no website coder can fix is human error and even the most sophisticated among us can fall prey to a well-crafted spoofing email. Con artists are more skilled than many marketing professionals in manipulating our biggest motivators: fear and greed. One unfortunate click by you or one of your employees could start a devasting chain of events.
Surveys report that while about half of ransomware victims will pay their attackers, few are able to restore their entire website and 17% aren’t able to restore any files at all, hardly a surprise when you’re working with criminals.
By backing up your website regularly, you can restore your site without having to negotiate with the hackers. Of course you can only restore up to the point where the site was last backed up, so frequent backups are important if you make frequent updates to your content. Your hosting company may be backing up your website automatically now. Compare their backup schedule to how often you update your site to see if you have adequate protection.
In short, while you can’t protect your website 100% of the time, you can greatly reduce your vulnerability by
- keeping your site updated to the latest version,
- backing up your website frequently, and
- practicing caution when clicking.
If you want to learn more about your website’s security, just give us a call.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels